World Cup to boost Qatar tourists to 3.7m
Doha, February 6, 2012
The Fifa World Cup will drive the number of tourist arrivals in Qatar per year to between 1.7 and 3.7 million by 2022, up from 900,000 currently, said a top official.
The World Cup would contribute 10 per cent growth to the value of the region’s hospitality and tourism sectors, added Secretary General of Qatar 2022 Supreme Committee Hassan Al-Thawadi, speaking at Qatar Projects 2012, a major energy and infrastructure event, in Doha.
He said the event’s committee had studied the success models of previous global sporting events, specifically the 1992 Barcelona Olympics and the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa.
Commenting on the Barcelona Olympics, Al-Thawadi said: “Between 1981 and 1987 for example, the number of tourist arrivals to Barcelona was fairly stagnant at around 700,000. Barcelona’s journey has been an extremely successful one with the city now boasting one of the highest occupancy rates in Europe with approximately seven million visitors each year.”
Al-Thawadi said the aim of the 2022 World Cup was to bring sustainable social and economic benefit to the Middle East region as a whole. In a reference to the unrest that has affected the region, Al-Thawadi pointed to the diversification of regional economies and job creations with considerable benefits for small-to-medium sized enterprises (SMEs).
Al-Thawadi drew parallels between the Middle East and Africa in terms of their shared passion for football and how the Qatar World Cup 2022 would bring the Middle East closer together.
Referring to the World Cup in South Africa, Al-Thawadi said: “This was very noticeable when Ghana was the only African team to qualify for the knock-out rounds. South Africans of all colours and creeds united with the entire African nation and gave their full backing to the Ghanaian team. The World Cup was Africa presenting a unified face to the world.”
Al-Thawadi was speaking on the first day of Qatar Projects 2012, which began with a dedicated Sports Business Forum focusing on strategies and opportunities for developing the Gulf region’s fast growing sports business sector.
Qatar Projects 2012 opened yesterday (February 5), and will run up to February 8 at Grand Hyatt Doha. – TradeArabia News Service